Thursday, September 23, 2010

Diamond Comic Distributors "Picks" MAGUS #1

What if magic were real? Or, at least, what if it were real until thousands of years ago, and the world was forced to forget that magic and all its power was a very real part of life and not just the fantasies of fiction.

Magus is the story of our world on the day magic is unlocked and all of humanity once again discovers the gift of magic. Society is turned upside down as the world adjusts to this amazing new discovery and governments all across the globe attempt to contain the chaos. Some will use their new gift for good while others will use it for evil, but for everyone on the planet, life will never be the same.

Jon Price, David Norton, and Rebekah Isaacs find the very human story at the heart of Magus by focusing not on the big picture but on the lives of the individuals — like best friends Ben and Darius — faced with a new and terrifying world. Magus is a truly modern and undeniably unique fantasy, one that will leave you breathless — and yearning for magic of your own.

See PREVIEWS page #308

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Wagner, Shasteen, Gardner talk 25 TO LIFE

There is a murderer on the streets – a serial killer – hunting down and executing African American police officers. As you may know, the police go after cop killers with extreme zealousness but when even the full force of the police can’t find the killer, they call in for help – they call in the F.B.I.

In the recently debuted miniseries 25 To Life, an experimental unit of the F.B.I. is called in to solve these targeted killings, and to do it they use criminals against one another. After profiling the suspect in a case, they seek out incarcerated criminals who fit that same profile – ‘Mirrors’ they call them – and try to get inside the mind of their suspect by getting inside the mind of these prisoners. In the case of this race crime, they have to saddle up with a racist militia leader and somehow strike up a partnership in order to catch the killer.

The first issue of 25 To Life hit the streets last week, with the remaining two scheduled for October and November. Last week we talked with series mastermind Eriq La Salle, and this week we turn to his accomplices, writer Doug Wagner & artist Tony Shasteen...

Newsarama: In 25 To Life, it revolves around an experimental FBI unit that uses incarcerated criminals to gain insight on outstanding cases. Can you tell us how this team works?

Doug Wagner: There are volatile, high profile cases out there that could erupt into riots and general mass chaos if not solved swiftly. In these types of situations, the government and the public demand and need results in a short amount of time. That’s where our experimental FBI unit comes in. The FBI has been given permission to make “deals” with guys in prison for 25 To Life in exchange for their knowledge and insight. If they don’t help solve the case, the deal is null and void. There’s not only pressure on our team to solve the case, but pressure on the criminals they incorporate to solve the case as well. The concept is an expanded version of the classic concept of “it takes a thief to catch a thief.” But in these cases, we’re dealing with crimes that are much more violent and malicious. Who better to catch a racially motivated murderer ex-racially motivated murderer?

Nrama: What can you tell us about Santana and the rest of the team?

Wagner: Santana is an African-American in his 40’s and the leader of this team. At his age, he should be higher on the FBI food chain, but he has this problem with authority figures. Lucky for him, he's brilliant. Santana uses his cop intuition and street hunches to solve crimes, trusting his heart before his head. He is an excellent detective and investigator with his own dark secrets.

Espinoza is a hot Columbian female with a violent streak. Psychologist by trade, she picked up her gun skills and bullet-proof skin on the job. The smile is genuine, trustworthy and sincere 'til the end – but you definitely do not want to mess around and end up on her bad side. Her only blemish is a nasty ex-drug habit that's had her suspended, threatened and moved from city to city like a military brat. She’s clean now, but struggles to remain so.

Roschard, “Roach” to his teammates, has a background in chemistry and forensics from his military days, and he has always been an over-achiever in both. Though tough enough on the streets, he is better suited in the lab, and everyone knows it, including him. As a result, he constantly feels as though he has something to prove. Roach is logical and analytical, using a scientific approach to crime solving.

Shepard is the new blood on the team. A 24-year-old right out of the academy, he’s still the by-the-book kind of agent. On this team, his insights are rarely appreciated and often rejected. The son of a prominent government official, Shepard has to constantly establish that nepotism did not get him the job on this team, even though it did. Usually, he’s convincing himself more than those around him.

(For the rest of the interview, click on the title at the top of this story)

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

MICK FOLEY talks R.P.M. @ Newsarama

Newsarama: So Mick, how'd you get involved with comics?

Mick Foley: Well, Shane Riches has probably been the biggest fan of my second novel, Scooter; he hated the first one, Tietam Brown. [laughs]

No, he’s a big fan of that one too. If either of those novels makes it to the big screen it’ll be because Shane has been so resilient in getting those scripts out there. He believed in my ability to tell a story, and he’s been after me for a few years to tell them in a different medium.

Nrama: I read that Jill Thompson, who you collaborated with on two children’s books, also egged you on to try comics.

Foley: Yeah, Jill had been the other one talking to me for awhile about trying to a story in the comic format. And Jill, when she gets a good idea she immediately goes into storyboard mode.

I’m so proud of Jill; she’s just been nominated for a couple Spike Scream awards; I’m thrilled for her.

Before I worked with Jill, I had no idea that most writers of children’s books had no relationship with the illustrator and they were just put together for the story. I loved working with her.

Nrama: Moving on to this new series, what can you tell us about Revere Windsor, the lead character in R.P.M.?

Foley: Shane knew I was a big history buff, and we’d been tossing around the idea of updating a historical character and I thought having it be a descendant of Paul Revere, who is literally a ‘revere’d figure in American history. [laughs]

We then went and gave him a somewhat believable superpower which he uses in his line of work.

Nrama: And what is Revere’s line of work exactly?

Foley: He would be a person to hire to deliver important goods in a brief amount of time. I guess he’s like a courier / mercenary – a Coursenary. [laughs]

Shane had the idea of making him a courier, but that didn’t sound too appealing to me so we started fleshing out ways we could turn it into an action adventure story. Nothing against Cannonball Run, we just had to make ours special.

Nrama: So will the action take place strictly behind the wheel of a car, or does Revere have some fighting chops?

Foley: He’s multi-faceted. The way he fights reminds me of the first time I saw a Jackie Chan movie, in the mid 90s, and it was just so clever. I was over in Japan and I couldn’t understand a word of it, it was either in Mandarin or dubbed into Japanese, but the action was so phenomenal. Not because it was bloody, but really clever. I think the action sequences in R.P.M. are clever because he’s using his hyper-kinetic depth perception to aid him in his quest.

(Read the entire interview by clicking the title above)

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Eriq LaSalle on the record with Newsarama

Newsarama: In 25 to Life, the revolves around an experimental FBI unit that uses incarcerated criminals to gain insight on outstanding cases. How'd this idea come to you?

Eriq La Salle: Well, we originally developed it as a television series with my production company. Once a month I charge my employees with certain assignments, and on one of these months it was to pitch ideas for a different take on cop shows - something that was fresh, original and inventive. Someone came back with the idea of a cop show where the police deal with criminals directly, so for the next year or so we fleshed that idea out and went really deep and came up with something interesting and fresh.

What we came up with as 25 To Life, and after we got involved with 12 Gauge it popped up as an ideal story to tell as a comic.

Nrama: What attracted you personally to the story that 25 To Life developed into?

La Salle: It's the age-old question, or curiosity rather of 'what exactly is the line between good and evil?' and 'what is the delineation between a cop and a criminal?' It seems like the best cops are in touch with the darker parts of their personality. You could say that their skill sets are similar to criminals; they say that the best criminals would make good cops, and the best cops would have made the best of criminals. It's a very interesting parallel which came forward as we developed 25 To Life. That theory is both provocative and thoughtful so it resonates well.

Nrama: Leading the team is Special Agent Gabriel Santana - a man with a lot of experience, and little time for bureaucratic red tape as it seems. He's our main man in the book, but who is he really?

La Salle: He turns it on when he has to turn it on. With a mind like his, he's always thinking things through; very calculating and analytically. In the personal lives of Gabriel and the rest of the cast, they are all somewhat everyday people who have their own demons; even though they're the 'good guys', they have their own plusses and minuses.

So Gabriel is a great guy - very much a man's man; very strong, direct and ethical, with a very strong sense of what is right and what is wrong. He has through experience come to realize that you can't always take the high road though; in dealing with criminals who don't respect the rule book, a cop playing strictly by those rules is at a distinct disadvantage. Santana understands how criminals think, and when necessary, he does what has to be done. His first priority is catching the bad guy, so if that means he has to 'bend the rules', he'll do whatever it takes. (click on the title above for more...)

25 TO LIFE #1 - Interview + 8 page preview at CBR

Check it out - On sale now!

CBR News: Just to start, how did you connect with Eriq La Salle and where did this "25 to Life" come from?

Keven Gardner: Eriq has a production company called Humble Journey Films and had contacted 12-Gauge about one of our properties. Through that conversation, he told us about "25 to Life," which was an idea he was developing and wanted to see if we would be interested in doing it as a comic book. He sent his script over and I really responded to it. The concept was just unique and it works in a kind of "48 Hours" meets "Silence of the Lambs," which is a really cool dynamic for a story. It was a really cool process, because we went to Doug with the idea and he responded to it. Tony was our first choice, and he jumped on board. JD was able to come in and color. A great, really cool creative team from the top down. It's been a really nice project for us to put together.

Doug, you don't write many comics, so what is was it about this particular project that interested you?

Doug Wagner: Keven gave me a call. Any chance you get to work with somebody like Eriq La Salle, [you take]. I read the script and it was great. I was like, "Yeah, I can definitely adapt this." There's the huge challenge of adapting something from screen to comics because on TV you can write as much dialogue as you want. To take an hour long show and try to put it in three issues was pretty challenging, but Eriq and Tony worked with me pretty closely and we made it work. That's what brought me on. Having Tony on it, too, up front and working with someone who was in the studio with me was a huge bonus as well (get the full story by clicking the title above).